Biel 2008: impressions from the final round

8/4/2008 – A few days ago the 41st Biel Chess Festival ended – with a colossal bang. First there were human fireworks, then the celestial variety, with a violent thunderstorm raging over the city. The next morning saw the prize-giving ceremony, then came a mad dash to deliver Magnus Carlsen to the Chess Classic in Mainz. Now that peace has returned to our lives here's a pictorial retrospect of Biel.

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The 41st Biel International Chess Festival took place from July 20th - 31st, 2008. The Grandmaster Tournament is a category 18 event with an average rating of 2686.

Round 10: Thursday, July 31, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
1-0
 Yannick Pelletier
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
Etienne Bacrot 
1-0
 Leinier Dominguez

In the nerve-racking tiebreak two 15-minute rapid games were drawn, so two blitz games at 5 minutes plus two seconds increment were played. The first was a draw, the second, a wild struggle, Alekseev was victorious, with 18 seconds left on his clock.

Dominguez Perez,L (2708) - Alekseev,Evgeny (2708) [C65]
41st Festival GM Playoff Biel SUI (4), 31.07.2008
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.Re1 Bb6 8.h3 Ne7 9.Nbd2 c6 10.Ba4 Ng6 11.Nf1 h6 12.Ng3 Re8 13.d4 Qc7 14.Bc2 Be6 15.Be3 Rad8 16.Qc1 Kh7 17.Bd3 c5 18.Nf5 Bxf5 19.exf5 Nf8 20.Bb5 Re7 21.dxe5 dxe5 22.Qc2 e4 23.Nd2 Qe5 24.f3 Qxf5 25.fxe4 Qg6 26.Bf2 Ne6 27.Nf3 Nf4 28.Nh4 Nxh3+ 29.Kf1 Qg4 30.e5+ g6 31.exf6 Rxe1+ 32.Bxe1 c4 33.Qe2 Qf4+ 34.Nf3 Rd3 35.Bd2 Be3

Leinier Dominguez, who had been leading by a full point in the final rounds, is a piece up and can win the event with 36.Be3. Instead he incurs the ultimate tragody of stumbling at the finish line: 36.Bxc4?? Rxd2 37.gxh3 Rxe2 38.Kxe2 Qxc4+ 39.Kxe3 Qe6+ 40.Kf2 Qxf6 41.Re1 Qb6+ 42.Kg3 Qxb2 43.Re7 Kg7 44.Re3 Qxa2. It is hopeless, Alekseev has much more time on the clock. 0-1. [Click to replay or download the tiebreak games]

Final standings


Impressions from the final round in Biel

Pictorial report by Frederic Friedel

We left Biel in somewhat of a hurry. In the night after the final round there was a violent thunderstorm with lightning and thunder simultaneously, and ear-splitting cracks, indicating that the bolts were striking very close by. The next morning there was a prize-giving ceremony, then a festive lunch. After that we took a train – the fastest means of transport in this case – to Mainz, to deliver Magnus Carlsen into the clutches of Vishy Anand, Alexander Morozevich and Judit Polgar. We arrived in Mainz just 35 minutes before the start of the first round of the Rapid Chess World Championship. Magnus, brave lad that he is, took all of this in his stride.

As a result, our final report from Biel was very cursory. Today we return to Biel and provide you with impressions from the final day of the International Chess Festival that took place there from July 20th - 31st.


The city of Biel, quiet and serene, with a canal river running through its middle


Fountains gush out of the street on the main square


The venue – the "palais des congrès"


Break dancers practicing at the entrance to the theatre


Very athletic – and all part of the act


A young talent trying his first breakdance steps


Alexander Onischuk vs Magnus Carlsen in the final round in Biel


Alexander Onischuk, originally from Ukraine, now USA.
Incidentally: the name is pronounced "onny-shook"


Etienne Bacrot (pronounced "etty-enn back-row") watching onny-shook suffer


IM Werner Hug ("who-g", left)

Hug won the World Junior Championship in 1971. Two years earlier he missed a mate in two against a Russian player, who escaped with a draw and thus qualified for the Junior World Championship – and went on to win it. Before we forget: the young Russian player was one Anatoly Karpov. Hug is one of the most entertaining players we know.


A veteran spectator in the front row


Enormously talented Cuban GM Leinier ("ly-nee-eh") Dominguez


Norwegian super-talent Magnus Carlsen (pronounced "Magnus Carlsen")

Magnus was desperately eager to win the full point against Alexander Onischuk, in order to have a chance of forcing a playoff against the leading Leinier Dominguez, who was losing to Etienne Bacrot. Here are some impressions of the young GM in his working pose. We also reveal the secrets of his phenomenal success in the game.


A central piece of advice for young chess players: never ever run out of orange juice


Another important point: use your fingers to count the material on the board


Study the position from every possible angle


Pay special attention to the kingside


And make sure you are more relaxed and suffering less than your opponent


Unfortunately it didn't work this time, Magnus drew and finished third


Swiss GM Yannick Pelletier (pronounced "pell-tee-ay")

For Yannick this tournament turned into a nightmare. He lives in Montpellier, France, and took the TGV train to Biel. The high-speed train (imaginatively named "train de grande vitesse" or "high-speed train" by the French) has a rack for large pieces of luggage near the entrance to each carriage. That is where Yannick deposited his suitcase when he boarded. After a while he noticed that it was no longer there – it had been removed by a thief while the train was still in Montpellier station. Then to compound his sorrows he sprained his ankle badly on his arrival in Biel. But while narrating all of this Yannick, an old friend and Mr Nice Guy in person, quickly stressed that these were not the reasons for his abysmal minus seven performance.


The man of the moment in the last round: Evgeny Alekseev ("alek-say-ev"), who forced a playoff


The late-night playoff filmed with three video cameras


Between the games Evgeny Alekseev chats with Russian players and fans


The traumatic end for Leinier: he blunders in a clearly won position and takes second place


The players in Biel: Alexander Onischuk, Leinier Dominguez, Evgeny Alekseev, Magnus Carlsen, Etienne Bacrot, Yannick Pelletier. The organisers speculated that since Magnus Carlsen had been second two years ago, and won the event last year, he had wanted to try the remaining position on the winners' staircase.


The Swiss celebrating Alekseev's victory – or was it their National Day?

Actually August 1st is celebrated to commemorate the founding of the Swiss Confederation – back in 1291! In that year a historic alliance was forged by the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. This was to become the focal point around which the Switzerland of today was built over the next 500 years.


Live broadcast of the 41st Biel Chess Festival, brought to you by ChessBase Switzerland

All photos by Frederic Friedel in Biel


All results, games and reports

Round 1: Sunday, July 22, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Yannick Pelletier
Leinier Dominguez 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
Round 2: Monday, July 21, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier 
½-½
 Leinier Dominguez
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
Round 3: Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Leinier Dominguez 
½-½
 Evgeny Alekseev
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Alexander Onischuk 
1-0
 Yannick Pelletier
Round 4: Thursday, July 24, 2008
Yannick Pelletier 
0-1
 Evgeny Alekseev
Alexander Onischuk 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Leinier Dominguez 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Round 5: Friday, July 25, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Leinier Dominguez
Etienne Bacrot 
1-0
 Yannick Pelletier
Round 6: Saturday, July 26, 2008
Etienne Bacrot 
1-0
 Evgeny Alekseev
Yannick Pelletier 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen
Alexander Onischuk 
0-1
 Leinier Dominguez
Round 7: Monday, July 28, 2008

Magnus Carlsen 

0-1
 Evgeny Alekseev

Leinier Dominguez 

1-0
 Yannick Pelletier

Alexander Onischuk 

0-1
 Etienne Bacrot
Round 8: Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
0-1
 Leinier Dominguez
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
Round 9: Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Alexander Onischuk 
0-1
 Evgeny Alekseev
Leinier Dominguez 
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Yannick Pelletier 
½-½
 Etienne Bacrot
Round 10: Thursday, July 31, 2008
Evgeny Alekseev 
1-0
 Yannick Pelletier
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Alexander Onischuk
Etienne Bacrot 
1-0
 Leinier Dominguez

Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse the PGN games.



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